KPF Co-Founder Eugene Kohn Dies at 92, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

Eugene Kohn. Image courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox

The Design Dispatch offers expertly written and essential news from the design world crafted by our dedicated team. Think of it as your cheat sheet for the day in design delivered to your inbox before you’ve had your coffee. Subscribe now

Have a news story our readers need to see? Submit it here

KPF Co-Founder Eugene Kohn Dies at 92

Eugene Kohn, the architect and co-founder of Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), has died at 92. KPF, the firm he co-founded, started rivaling long-established international architectural firms within just a few years and became one of the world’s most prolific designers of supertalls. The firm is responsible for more than 250 skyscrapers worldwide, including some of the tallest: the World Financial Center in Shanghai, the headquarters of Unilever and Amazon in London, and the International Commerce Center in Hong Kong. The firm has also designed many of New York’s newest and tallest buildings, including One Vanderbilt and multiple structures at Hudson Yards.

Kohn’s ambition paired with the unusual partnership between him and William Pedersen was instrumental to KPF’s success. The two complemented each other well—Kohn had a passion for design but didn’t see himself as a creative innovator, while Pedersen worked under I.M. Pei on the East Building of the National Gallery in Washington and was eager for new challenges. Kohn acted as the firm’s public face, Pedersen was the creative force, and the firm’s third partner, Sheldon Fox, managed the business side. Together, they constituted an unorthodox but effective commercial and creative partnership.  —Ryan Waddoups

Yayoi Kusama. Photography by Yusuke Miyazaki, courtesy of OTA Fine Arts/Victoria Miro/David Zwirner.

Yayoi Kusama will bring another Infinity Mirror Room to David Zwirner in New York. 

Yayoi Kusama’s latest solo exhibition, “I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers” at David Zwirner in New York, will feature a new Infinity Mirror Room that creates an illusion of infinite space through the use of glass panes. The exhibition, opening May 12, marks ten years since her first exhibition with David Zwirner. It follows a series of high-profile Kusama projects and shows, including a retrospective at the M+ museum in Hong Kong, a partnership with Louis Vuitton, and installations of her Infinity Mirror Rooms at museums in the United States.

The San Diego Museum of Art will get a climate-friendly revamp by Foster + Partners.

Foster + Partners has been selected to upgrade the San Diego Museum of Art in a “climate-conscious” renovation that will enhance the facilities and visitor experience. The project will focus on the museum’s west-wing infrastructure and facilities with a new education center pavilion and rooftop space providing panoramic views of Balboa Park. Foster + Partners, who will collaborate with local firm LPA Design Studio, will commence the project’s planning phase in the coming months, with on-site work expected to begin in 2026.

A Yeezy sneaker for Adidas. Image via Shutterstock

Adidas considers donating $1.3 billion worth of Yeezy shoes after cutting ties with Ye.

Adidas is grappling with what to do with $1.3 billion worth of Yeezy shoes after severing ties with rapper Kanye West, who made antisemitic remarks on social media and in interviews. CEO Bjorn Gulden said selling the shoes would require paying royalties to West, but destroying them could “raise sustainability issues,” while restitching them to hide the Yeezy brand “is not very honest.” If Adidas does sell the shoes, Gulden promised to donate proceeds to those hurt by West’s remarks. The breakup cost the company $700 million in lost sales and is expected to result in a $500 million hit to earnings this year.

Cooper Hewitt establishes a curatorial department specializing in born-digital work.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has established a Digital curatorial department that will focus on collecting and preserving born-digital work and encompass areas such as app design, digital animation, and artificial intelligence. The new department, led by Andrea Lipps, marks the museum’s first new department in more than 125 years and reflects the rapid expansion of digital design as a key area of innovation. Lipps, who brings cross-disciplinary experience to the position, will develop new methods of preservation and presentation to increase public access to this growing collection.

Carrie Mae Weems becomes the first Black woman to win the Hasselblad Award. 

Carrie Mae Weems, a prolific artist who explores personal and global history through a racial and feminist lens, has become the first African American woman to win the prestigious Hasselblad Award, one of the most significant honors bestowed on a living photographer. The annual award acknowledges “significant achievement” in photography and is endowed with SEK 2,000,000 (about $187,000). Weems’s body of work has “anticipated salient issues of our time—the struggle for racial equality and human rights—with unflinching visual and ethical force,” the Hasselblad Foundation wrote in its citation.

“Shadow of a Face” (2003) by Nina Cooke John, a monument to Harriet Tubman. Photography by Cesar Melgar, courtesy of the city of Newark

Newark unveils a Harriet Tubman monument that features a permanent audio piece.

Newark celebrated the unveiling of a new Harriet Tubman monument in Harriet Tubman Square, paying homage to both Tubman’s and the city’s role in facilitating the Underground Railroad. The monument, titled Shadow of a Face (2023), was designed by artist Nina Cooke John and comprises enormous welded outlines of Tubman’s figure, with a concrete wraparound structure featuring a carving of Tubman’s face. The monument is surrounded by educational text panels and ceramic mosaic tiles created by Newark residents to cement their presence in this historic moment, and an audio component enables users to listen for free through the Audible Places app later this spring.

A band given a Banksy artwork to change their name has put the piece up for auction.

The rock group, formerly Exit Through the Gift Shop, who changed their name in exchange for a Banksy painting, is finally selling the artwork so that “people should be able to see it.” Brace Yourself!, valued at an estimated $600,000–$800,000, has been in the band’s possession since 2010 and depicts Death driving a bumper car. The sale aims to preserve the artwork as a “piece of history”—proceeds will go to the band, with a large portion set aside for MusiCares, a music industry charity.

Today’s attractive distractions:

Scientists discover a “natural battery” that creates electricity from thin air.

Owen Wilson is—but also isn’t—Bob Ross in the upcoming film Paint.

We all read reviews before shopping, but how do we know they’re real?

There are still lessons to glean from Apartment Life’s jubilant interiors.

All Stories